More festivals on the way back to Monterey County – Monterey Herald


MONTEREY – After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, the annual Festa Italia will return to the Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey from September 10 to 12.

Created to honor the local fishermen of Monterey, the three-day festival builds on tradition to ensure that local Italian heritage is kept alive generation after generation.

“Monterey was founded on a fishing industry,” said Joe Cardinalli, vice president of the Festa Italia Foundation. “It is important that people know this story.

The Festa Italia in Monterey dates back to 1933, when a statue of Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of Sicilian fishermen, was donated to the Cathedral of San Carlos. The Sicilian women of Monterey began to pray to Santa Rosalia to ensure the safe journey and the protection of the fishermen of their families. Since then, the tradition of blessing Monterey’s fishing fleets and praying for its fishermen has drawn visitors to the peninsula every year.

Typically, Festa Italia honors its history with a Mass at San Carlos Cathedral, followed by a procession through downtown Monterey to Old Fisherman’s Wharf. This year, however, the parade will not take place. Instead, Mass will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 10 at the Custom House Plaza. From there, the tradition will resume as the crowds come to the end of the wharf to bless the fleets and fishermen on the water.

Traditional celebrations will continue elsewhere with the sounds and flavors of Italy expected to appear throughout the weekend.

Pasquale Esposito, Erasmo Aiello and Dave Marzetti accompanied by Mike Marotta, Jr., Dave Dally and Dennis Murphy, and the Tarantella Dancers are expected to bring Italian music and culture to the festival on September 10 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 11. . from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mixed in with traditional performances, artists such as the Money Band, Anthony Lane Band and Chicano All Stars will bring everything from rock’n’roll and reggae to festival lineup, starting with the Money Band on Fridays 5pm to 9 p.m.

Locally sourced Italian cuisine such as squid steaks and sausage sandwiches, cannoli, arancini and of course various pastas will also be available to introduce visitors to the Sicilian coast.

On Saturday or Sunday, pétanque teams can participate in the Santa Rosalia Bocce Cup tournament for cash prizes.

This year’s festival, however, will not include the annual Coronation Ball to name a Festa Italia queen. Each year, young women from across the Monterey Peninsula, many of whom are often related to local fishermen, came in to represent the festival and their Italian heritage.

While there is no queen or queen’s court at this year’s celebrations, over $ 5,000 in scholarships will still be awarded to local students to commemorate the importance of passing on the traditions to the next generation.

“I like to pass the legacy on to young people if they are ready to take it back,” said Buster Crivello, president of the Festa Italia Foundation for 32 years. “I am 87 years old. I no longer have the energy I had. We hope to keep the tradition alive for many years to come. “

Crivello and the Festa Italia Foundation are doing all they can to maintain customs in September despite growing concerns over COVID-19. With positivity testing rates rising from previous months and mask recommendations making a comeback across the state, Crivello and his team are closely monitoring state guidelines in case any further modifications or precautions are needed. be taken closer to the festival.

While the trajectory of the pandemic remains uncertain, other events are still scheduled to return to the county in the coming months, including the 61st annual artichoke festival.

This weekend, the Artichoke Festival will be held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Like Festa Italia, the event will once again emphasize its classic elements, with gourmet artichoke dishes while celebrating agriculture-themed activities.

The 10th annual Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival is also approaching, scheduled for August 7 in downtown Salinas from noon to 3 p.m.

As a prelude to the festival, a kick-off will take place one week before July 29 from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. on the lawn of the John Steinbeck House. Guests can then stay for the annual festival winemakers dinner later in the evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Online RSVPs for Launch Mixer are required and can be done at 365834. Likewise, space for the Wine Maker dinner is limited and reservations are required by calling (831) 595-0782.

Tickets for the artichoke festival can be purchased at For those interested in Festa Italia, more information can be found at

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